WTTW Chicago interviewed Dr. Santosh Kumar about the growing Covid-19 crisis in India and what Chicagoans can do to support India in this difficult time. She laid out what MAFS and other Chicago-based organizations are doing and how to donate money and supplies so India can get the aid it needs.
Paris Schutz: India as you mentioned is going through a massive Covet-19 outbreak fueled in part by the spread of a highly contagious variant of the disease this past Saturday the country reported its highest daily death toll from covid 4,187 people all in one day here in Chicago some groups are working with overseas organizations to donate supplies and relief funds and joining us to hear more are Santosh Kumar the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Asian Family Services and Dr. Sajal Tanna an infectious disease specialist with Northwestern Medicine. Welcome both of you to Chicago Tonight. Both of you as with many in the Chicago area have family in India starting with you Santosh Kumar how is this hit close to home for you?
Dr. Santosh Kumar: Namaste to all of you, first of all, I’m Santosh Kumar from Metropolitan Asian Family Services I’m here for the last four decades and I’m serving our community for the last 30 years for Metropolitan Asian Family Services and Universal Metro Asian Services and we are serving the senior population and for personally as you ask my family is in very much danger I have lost four or five people already and right now four people are in the hospital in a very critical condition because of the lack of the oxygen there so India is a very heavily populated densely populated country and this pandemic is taking a toll on the very high number of the people as you know the aesthetics it is spreading exponentially where when 300, 400, 500 people in a day it is infecting yeah it’s certainly an apocalyptic situation right now.
Paris Schutz: Dr. Sejal Tanna before we get to some of the issues behind this how about your own personal feelings about what’s happening has this hit close home to you as well
Dr. Sajal Tanna: Yes, I’m an infectious diseases position over at northwestern who’s been taking care of patients but both of my parents are both originally from India almost all of their siblings are still there and our family as well has been very hard hit most of my relatives have been lucky enough to stay at home but at the same time we’ve lost some close family friends and extended family members to this disease
Paris Schutz: All right, Santosh Kumar what are some of the efforts at least in the Chicago area that are underway now to sort of help the situation over there Chicago?
Dr. Santosh Kumar: We are trying here in many many avenues like Sewa International. We have collected eight million dollars and are sending oxygen and vaccines and other PPE’s for hospitals to the people and they have thousands of volunteers that are working there and then we have a Red Cross India. We are helping them through different organizations like FIA Chicago and then we have private people doctors engineers they are sending and Mall of India also sending and many many people are sending to that but it is not enough for India kind of population I urge the world community to help India right now to stop the spending right now if we fail to stop right now then it will spread the whole world because this is a very dangerous mutant has come.